Statement by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs at the Group of 77 Chairmanship Handover Ceremony
New York, 23 January 2009

Your Excellency, Dr. Altigani Salih Fidail, Minister of International Cooperation of the Republic of the Sudan,
Your Excellency, Dr. John Ashe, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Mr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockman, President of the General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Mme. Deputy Secretary-General,
Dear Associate Administrator,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour to join you at this handover ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China.

I would like to add a few words to those we have just heard from the Secretary-General.

Before I do so, I would like to commend Antigua and Barbuda, and particularly Ambassador Ashe, on his excellent leadership of the G77 during an eventful and turbulent year.

I would also like to welcome Sudan to the Chairmanship. With the considerable effort directed towards strengthening United Nations’ involvement in peace and prosperity in Africa, it should serve well to have an African nation guiding the Group in 2009.

Excellencies,

Last year, we saw the convergence of food, fuel, climate and economic crises threatening the hard-earned progress achieved in development since the dawn of the new millennium.

Yet, time and again, the international community has come together in the United Nations to respond to these interconnected challenges.

I am very proud that, in support of these processes, DESA – the steward of the United Nations Development Agenda, and long-standing friend of the Group of 77 and China – has lent its expertise and efforts to analyze the causes and potential impacts of these crises on developing countries.

Excellencies,

The year that lies ahead will be just as busy and no less challenging. Each of us has a role to play in building on our good work and a responsibility to fulfill our promises.

The Secretary-General has already mentioned a number of intergovernmental efforts, for which DESA is working to provide analytical material and organizational support. From ECOSOC’s annual ministerial review, bringing all stakeholders together to focus on global health. To the preparations for a comprehensive review of development at the MDG Summit in 2010.

DESA is directly involved in supporting the Secretary-General in addressing the challenge of climate change, with particular focus on the role of technology, including deployment and diffusion of climate-friendly technologies.

Support to Member States and the Secretary-General on the financial crisis is on the top of DESA’s agenda. We are committed to use our normative and analytical capacities to backstop and contribute to major relevant events to be held this year.

The full and active participation and collaboration of the G77 and China is vital to forming meaningful outcomes on global challenges like these.

The Secretariat is better prepared to do its job thanks to the recent resolution by the General Assembly to strengthen the United Nations development pillar, though it could be strengthened further. This positive result was realized largely through the strong and vocal support of the Group of 77 and China, and with the understanding of our development partners.

In order to ensure an effective, strategic and comprehensive Departmental approach to supporting implementation of the United Nations development agenda and to emerging issues, I intend to establish a strategic planning network in DESA.

I am also taking steps to strengthen our Department’s work in capacity development by establishing a Capacity Development Office.

Excellencies,

The year ahead presents many important opportunities which must not be lost through indecision or inaction. I promise that DESA will continue to support and work hard to bring development to all – and to realize our shared goals, even, and especially, in the face of adversity and uncertainty.

Thank you.